ANCA Welcomes Berman Efforts to Stop Military Equipment Sale To Baku

Rep. Howard Berman

Rep. Berman concerned that U.S. sale of advanced battlefield surveillance equipment may green-light Azerbaijani aggression

WASHINGTON—The Armenian National Committee of America welcomed efforts by House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Democrat Howard Berman (D-CA) to pressure Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to stop a proposed sale of military hardware to Azerbaijan, citing that country’s continued war rhetoric and attacks against neighboring Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.

In a May 29 letter to Secretary Clinton, Rep. Berman referenced announcements of a sale of military hardware which would be used in conjunction with Azerbaijan’s military helicopter fleet for “border surveillance and ‘police-type’ activities.”  In addition to possible attacks against Armenia, Rep. Berman expressed concern about the “message that such a sale would send to the regional parties, both in terms of perceived U.S. even-handedness and in terms of our seriousness about persuading Baku to cease its bellicose rhetoric and agree to Minsk Group co-chair demands that it remove its snipers from the ‘line of contact’ in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.”

The complete text of the letter is provided below.

“Rep. Berman’s concerns about the sale of military equipment to Azerbaijan are timely and well founded – given the Aliyev regime’s repeated and escalating war rhetoric and attacks against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh,” stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “Any sale of such military equipment only serves to arm and embolden a belligerent Azerbaijani government that persists in using threats and acts of aggression to undermine the fundamental right to self-determination of the people of Karabakh, destabilizing an entire region of strategic significance to the United States.”

For a review of the latest Azerbaijani threats and attacks against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, please review the ANCA Fact Sheet:
http://www.anca.org/assets/pdf/misc/azeri_rhetoric_timeline_0512.pdf

Text Of Rep. Berman’s Letter To Secretary Clinton

May 29, 2012

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

I am writing to express my concern over a proposal by the Department of State to allow the sale of military equipment to Azerbaijan.  This proposal is included in case “DDTC 12-002″.

Two months ago, my staff inquired as to the possible use of this equipment by Azerbaijan.  Just last week, they were informed that it would be used on existing helicopters to aid in border surveillance and “police-type” activities.

As Azerbaijan shares a border with Armenia, this equipment could be used to identify and possibly target Armenians in the border area for surveillance or for attack.  I am also concerned about the message that such a sale would send to the regional parties, both in terms of perceived U.S. even-handedness and in terms of our seriousness about persuading Baku to cease its bellicose rhetoric and agree to Minsk Group co-chair demands that it remove its snipers from the “line of contact” in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

I therefore urge you to alter the proposal and prevent this military equipment from being sold to Azerbaijan.

Sincerely,
Howard L Berman
Ranking Member

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5 Comments

  1. Dave-us said:

    Thank you Rep. Berman, those weapons can and will be used against the RoA. Also, pressure must be brought to cancel the arming of Azerbaijan by the Israelis, as well as 100 stealth fighters and armed-drones to Turkey. It will force an arms-race (which is already underway) and Armenia will have no choice but to counter that threat.
    Someone needs to sit down with Sec. Clinton when she visits Armenia, offer her an adult beverage and impress this upon her.
    A discussion about Armenia’s need for a new nuclear power plant might also be a good subject to mention.
    Sometime during the discussion, dumping a box of bullets on the table used to murder Armenian soldiers peacefully defending a cease-fire line, (which most likely have US or Israeli markings), might be helpful.
    We do not have the right to destabilize the security in that region.
    Last time we tried it, it didn’t work out so well for the Georgians.

  2. Albert said:

    Bravo Mr.Berman. I hope that Mr. Berman will continue to serve in the House of Representatives for a long time to come. Having a war between Armenia and Azerbajian is in nobody’s interest including the United States. The Obama adminstration should be focused on fixing the economy not on helping Azerbaijan.

  3. Christo said:

    Congressman Berman, I was impressed by your presence in Encino. I made up my mind to vote for you that night, however, your recent effort only secures my vote for your reelection.

  4. Viken Karapetian said:

    I’m proud of my Congressman for stepping up in an election year. Still not sure who to vote for. Both Rep. Berman and Rep. Sherman have been terrific on Armenian issues, and both are friendly/engaging with their constitutents.

    Rep. Schiff has endorsed Berman. But Sherman is leading in polls. One of these long-serving Democrats will be forced out in November!

  5. Sirvart Garabedian said:

    I would to express my thanks to Mr. Berman who is working with ANCA to prevent sell of heavy weans to agressive Azerbaijan one cannot rely on their promises for ceasire. I am sick and tired hearing from now and then an Armenian who is peacefully applies the rules and regulations of OSCE for ceasfire and defend theeir innocent residents from harm. IO think it is very best time for the Secretary of the State, Hillary Clinton fully informed about Azerbaijani’s agression towards Nagorna Karabagh & talk to Israil not to sell 1.6 billion weapons to Azerbaijan who intends to use it in attacking Nagorna Karabagh even entering Armenian boarders from Tavush region killing a farmer, innocent resident who want to live peacefully, otherwise Israel & US will be accountable for the lose of lives of innocent Armenians peace loving people with its neighbours. Thank you Mr. Berman for your just efforts.

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